Weather data
A large number of automatic weather stations has been implemented in the frame of the BIOTA AFRICA project by the Namibian National Botanical Research Institute (NBRI) and the Group "Biodiversity, Evolution and Ecology" (BEE) of the University of Hamburg. The website offers hourly updates of data and graphs of a large number of weather parameters.


BIOTA Southern Africa - DS&T Project 4



DS&T 04


The clay mineralogy and micromorphology of soils within the BIOTA-South transect: towards an understanding of factors affecting water infiltration and subsurface lateral water flow in semi-arid and arid ecosystems.

Project leader(s)

Dr Anthony Mills
Department of Soil Science, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag X1, Matieland, 7602, South Africa
South African National Biodiversity Institute, Private Bag X7, Claremont, 7735, South Africa

Project description

The project will entail the following components:

  • XRD analysis of approximately 150 soil surface crusts to analyse the clay mineralogy component. This information will be related to the rate of water infiltration and the structure of the soil crusts.

  • Scanning electron microscopy of approximately 150 soil surface crusts to determine the pore structure and how this structure relates to infiltration.

  • Micromorphology work on the soil crusts to identify the crust components. This expertise in unavailable in South Africa, and consequently training overseas would be required. The Spanish are leaders in this field and offer a course in Barcelona. It is proposed that Anthony Mills attends this course to learn the technique.

  • Collection of an additional 100 soil samples from profiles with impervious soil horizons identified on the BIOTA transect. These impervious horizons will be evident from the data collected by the German soil scientists. Clay mineralogy work using XRD will be undertaken on these samples to establish whether the formation of these impervious horizons is linked to clay type and clay behaviour.

SADC and International Links

The following soil scientists at the University of Hamburg will actively participate in the methodology, analysis of data, interpretation of data and writing of papers:

Andreas Petersen, email:
Dr. Alex Gröngröft
Professor Gunter Miehlich

They are based at the:
Institute for Soil Science
University of Hamburg
Allende Platz 2
20146 Hamburg

and are presently working with Anthony Mills on the soil science component of the BIOTA II project.